Updated September 26, 2022. It doesn’t matter if you pack your everyday lunchbox or the perfect basket, a picnic knows no bounds with the help of a nearby grassy area, a comfy blanket, and some of your favorite snacks, all ready to be enjoyed outdoors.
If you’re looking to enjoy all the beautiful views, here are a few local spots worth tossing out a blanket, turning on some tunes, and enjoying a portable autumn meal.
Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden
If you’re looking to be surrounded by nature’s beauty during your picnic, look no further than Bon Air Park. Depending on when you visit, you might get to stop and smell the bountiful blooms of the roses in the garden, or enjoy the bright azalea bushes along the pathways. No matter when you visit, the serenity of the park — fit with ornamental trees to sit under too — will act as the perfect backdrop for a calm picnic in the autumn breeze. Bon Air Park: 850 N. Lexington St., Arlington
Fort Hunt Park
This local park is known as a picnic favorite for a reason. With several large picnic shelters available for rent throughout October, it’s often a bustling park with family gatherings, birthday parties, and much more, hosting up to 600 people at a time. Find a spot to empty your basket and learn more about the park’s history. From being an original part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, to its prevalence in the Spanish-American War, the Great Depression, and WWII, there’s so much to learn and so much to enjoy. 8999 Fort Hunt Rd., Alexandria
Gravelly Point Park
You would be pressed to find a Northern Virginian who hasn’t heard “picnic” and “Gravelly Point” in the same sentence and this year is no exception. With planes taking off over the nation’s capital, this is the best place to watch them fly while you enjoy a meal in the grass or at a nearby picnic table. Plus, the land is flat and perfect for a day filled with family games, letting the dog sniff new trees, or just getting a much-needed breath of fresh air. George Washington Memorial Pkwy., Arlington
Great Falls Park
Sometimes you just have to be reminded that we are surrounded by natural wonders everywhere, even beyond the busy streets of our local neighborhoods. Head out to Great Falls Park with your packed picnic basket and you can enjoy the sounds and sights of the national park, and maybe even enjoy a hike through the changing trees while you’re out and about. To ensure the park stays enjoyable and beautiful for all, make sure to properly dispose of any packaging you have, and keep your environmental footprints light. 9200 Old Dominion Dr., McLean
Hidden Oaks Nature Center
Having a meal tucked away in the trees may be possible in your backyard, but you have to take a trip to Hidden Oaks Nature Center to experience the true magic of the forest. Pack your lunch and find a shady spot to enjoy the quiet and calm of nature, then let the kids (or yourself!) explore the wooded areas for bridges, trails, and lots of wildlife. Check before visiting for the opening of park spaces and accommodations, and be sure to wear proper shoes for exploring on and off the park’s paths. 7701 Royce St., Annandale
Huntley Meadows Park
If you’re missing your summer tradition of walking along the boardwalk and having lunch with your toes in the sand, you can still get a similar experience without leaving NoVA. Head to Huntley Meadows Park to walk the boardwalk trail, view wildlife, and set up a picnic in a grassy area surrounded by birds, wildflowers, and more. The park has over 1,554 acres to explore, and the kids will love getting to spot beavers, frogs, dragonflies, and herons as you enjoy the outdoors and packed picnic lunch. Plus, this is the perfect place for a picnic if bird-watching is your go-to hobby, with over 200 species having been identified in the park. 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria
Lake Accotink Park
Pack up a picnic lunch and plan an entire day on and off the water, just under a mile from the Capital Beltway. This 483-acre park offers panoramic views of Accotink Creek, where you can find a shady spot near the water and enjoy your lunch, or get out on the water yourself with a kayak or pedal boat. If you would rather stay on land, rent a bike and circle the park to get your legs moving, or simply sit back and enjoy a picnic day with the family. 7500 Accotink Park Rd., Springfield
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
If you’ve already spent quite enough time in your own garden this season, head to one of the region’s best botanical gardens in Vienna, filled with flora and fauna throughout the 95 acres of parkland. With a picnic area adjacent to the garden (picknicking is not permitted with the gardens), you’ll get to enjoy views of the Piedmont hills before browsing the beautiful plants from the beginning to the end of your park exploration. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to explore the Korean Bell Garden or tour The Atrium to see the indoor tropical garden. 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct., Vienna
Potomac Point Winery
Have you missed getting the views of stunning Virginia-grown grapes, and sipping on some local wine while you’re at it? Potomac Point is the perfect place for a winery picnic. You don’t have to pack your own food and drinks (although you are welcome to), so if you’re looking for a treat, be sure to check out the winery’s picnic menu. You can get your own charcuterie board, homemade pickle spears, and more, plus, there’s always bottles available to enjoy during your stay. 275 Decatur Rd., Stafford
Silver Lake Regional Park
A fishing trip isn’t quite complete without a packed picnic, so make your way to Silver Lake and enjoy a meal by the water during a day of fishing with the family. The park boasts 230 acres of roaming fields, pine forests, and 23 acres of water, and is open for fishing bluegill and largemouth bass fish from sunrise to sunset. Want a little extra for your picnic? Permanent grills are available to cook if you’re feeling fancy, as well as nearby picnic tables. 16198 Silver Lake Rd., Haymarket
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